Oct 28, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

You know why I like the cold?

1. Cute boots
2. Fun coats
3. Hot soup and tea and pumkin, gingerbread, and candycane lattes...
4. Snuggling has multiple purposes
5. Fires, outside and in fireplaces
6. The cold holidays are coming soon....halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, new years....sweet lovin'.
7. Hats, I <3 hats
8. Rosy baby cheeks
9. Inside fun like movies and baking and eating
10. Good excuse for being super lazy

And #10 is great for when you know you have a lot to do but baby it's too cold outside...and who the heck wants to take babies in the cold?

Oct 14, 2010

I'm Just Not a Tribal Woman

Sometimes I put pressure on myself as a mom. I want to be like little stay at home Mother Nature Hippie+50s housewife+ Modern Mommy staying up on the latest and greatest baby trends in the west.

Basically it starts with the fact that these women inspire me.  When I say ‘these women” I mean tribal women. When I am having a hard day, I picture Sacagawea with Lewis and Clark forging down a river with her baby in tow, or the mothers in the covered wagons making their way across the plains in the winter to Oregon, or the African woman living in a hut working hard to find food for her children with a baby strapped to her.

I think I should do things the way they do it or the way I think they would. Obviously this is mostly crazy talk. In a lot of ways I do think we should go back to our roots and learn from the way nature intends for us to do things. But I am not really willing to forgo baby lotions, nursing covers, and breast pumps…I mean these Mother Nature women don’t have and probably don't need high chairs and excersaucers and bouncers and baby swings and boppys and bumbos and breast friends and Phil and Ted’s strollers and baby leashes, and pacifiers, and Hylands teething tablets. But as much as I rationally see things are not 100% necessary, I feel that I must have them and keep them.

I’ll tell you what though, in some ways we do have some challenges in the west that tribal women do not.......no tribal woman has to drive in a car with her baby strapped to a plastic contraption while they scream to be fed and you could be thrown in jail for feeding them in route. I’m not saying I should be able to take the baby out of the car seat to nurse her (although I am working on a little side project invention that involves a long straw….). I just think that we here in the WEST have some different obstacles that unfortunately make doing everything au natural impossible.

Ingredients to Keep on Hand for Delicious Meals

Fresh ginger-keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh and grate it in when necessary. mmmmm
Dorot- These are about teaspoon size amounts of fresh garlic, basil, and cilantro and other fresh herbs in a little tray like container that are easy to pop found into food. I buy them at Trader Joe's (thank you Alison Leitheiser for showing these to me. you are the bomb.)
Cumin-buy some. mmmm. great for mexican food and to add to beans if you don't have any meat or don't want meat. Somehow cumin tricks you into thinking your eating meat.
Artichoke hearts-canned frozen, whatever. They are so wonderful and make you feel fancy. Plus I feel like they have taste bud altering qualities. It's weird, when you eat ones it makes other food taste sweeter. Try it.
Craisins-you know you love them. They seem so healthy. Cranberries+sugar=<3
Balsamic Vinegar-try FIG if you like to party. And I have some raspberry flavored that is fun too...it's not made with raspberries though:(
Oils- I love oils....Walnut, grapeseed, coconut, those are some of my personal favorites. Olive oil is nice too:). Still haven't tried avocado oil, but I really want to try some.
sundried tomatoes- they come in a can and they are lovely. When they sit in your refrigerator opened, beware that the olive oil mixture will begin to solidify. Don't be alarmed.
Edamame- frozen. They are great to add as a colorful bean in dishes. Or in the pods as an easy snack or appetizer with kosher salt please.
Quinoa-sick of rice and pasta all the time? It is fun to mix things up with this stuff. You can do anything with it! By the way it is pronounced KEENWAH....
Nuts- almonds that are slivered and sliced thinly, walnuts, pistachios, cashews...those are my favorite. 
Pasta-Egg noodle pasta to be fancy....penne for a hearty pretty meal....spaghetti for fun times.
Spinach- I throw spinach in so many things. Sometimes just because I want some green or to place ugly food on. It does wonders.
Peppers-I <3 peppers. All colors all sizes. Costco in San Francisco and Cincinnati carry these tiny red, orange and yellow ones that are awesome in salads and everything that needs color.
Cracked peppercorn- necessity
rice-who doesn't love rice? who?
beans-so many kinds. buy them canned. buy them dry. soak them. cook them. food process them. fry them. re-fry them. I dare you to make 17 bean soup.
yeast- you can buy it in a tiny jar and keep it in your fridge...
eggs- they come from chickens! Chickens are one of the only foods we eat before and after they are born. weird. I like brown ones because I can see the shells more easily in my baking when I'm a bad egg cracker.
flour-It comes from wheat or other grains. Or a potato. Or quinoa!!!
honey-buy it local. buy it raw. eat it by the spoon fool....uhh because it's good for your allergies
sugar- or agave, or syrup..."Is there sugar in syrup?? Then yesssss!" But you might want sugar to coat delicious baked goods with good old fashion sugar.
salt-Kosher and Sea Salt are awesome. So is Pink Hawaiian Salt.

Oct 11, 2010

Disciplining Miss Davy: An Experiment on a Two Year Old

Throughout my life, I have often had issues with those in authority. I used to test the boundaries, break rules without getting caught, naughty things like that. So I assumed that my children would be so unlucky because I would know all of the good tricks.

Not so. Not so. She is trickier and smarter. She is conniving, mischievous, defiant and worst of all... two. years. old.

I am continuously outsmarted by a two year old. It's true.

Real life stories in...

Disciplining Techniques

1) Taking away privileges-Davy if you rip something out of Gianna's hand one more time and scream "MINE!" I am going to put away whatever you have up high [in my closet]. Immediately, she tests. "Mine! Mine! Mine!"....one pacifier-gone way up high. One second later... "Mine! Mine! Mine Gianna!" A purple sock-gone.
*Then she sits down, with no one around and screams, "Mine! Mine! Mine!" I walk up to her inquisitively, not sure how to approach the situation since she has nothing I can take from her. And she says, "Are you going to put me away? Way up there?" [points in the closet, so she can get her stuff back]. What a clever little thing she is. I had to step out of the room so I could try to compose myself. 

2) Positive Reinforcement- preventative discipline and mom manipulation. "Oh Gianna, look at how great Davy is at using a tissue! Isn't it amazing! She is such a big girl! Wow, that Davy can really wipe her nose." Things like that.

*She loves positive reinforcement. So much so, that she shows me her uneaten boogers allllll day. "Look Mommy! I did not eat this! I put it in a tissue." I can only get excited about boogers so many times before I start loose my fake mommy smile.

3) Firm negative dialogue-AKA yelling or talking loudly. "No Davy, we keep our milk in the cup." "No we DON'T keep it inna cup mommy. Weeeee keep it onna taaaaable."

*Pretty much never works. Unless I scream in panic when she is in imminent danger...a few times she has tried to open the car door while in her car seat on the highway. It sort of worked....well ok thank goodness for child lock. 

4) Corporal Punishment-I feel like it may be illegal in some states. Watch out or you will have Child Protective Services at your door... Anyway, I am sort of against it. I have tried it and I don't like it. Sometimes though I have a hard time thinking of other options...but beating your kids just doesn't seem like a good hobby to me.

*My attempt at spanking after she jumped in Gianna's crib for the 100th time and nearly squashed poor Gianna...A super lame spanking followed by "Ow Mommy you hurt me." ok done with that. Mom guilt times 1,000,000.

It does seem a little counter productive to try and teach a two year old not to hit, by hitting. I don't know.


Tonight I sat down with an Intervention Specialist who has a special interest in disciplining techniques and happens to be Davy's godmama. AKA my sister. She knows Davy well and we tried to think of a game plan for her. So I am going to implement a preventative award system with some serious intense positive reinforcement. Serious, like treats serious. And lots of them. The only problem is that lately the bribing has not been working so well with Davy. She would rather do what she wants when she wants then have my treats. So my sister Katie, said that I should ask Davy what she would like for her treat. Sounded fine to me. Whatever works.

So I decided I would sit down with her like the little adult that she pretends to be and explain to her the situation....

The next morning I did. I told her I needed to have a "conversation with her at breakfast." She was excited. She was like, "Oh I love kaversashums!"

"Davy you know how you have been practicing listening to mommy lately?"

Blank stare. "Can I have cereal?"

[me pouring cereal and milk] "You know how you have been going to time out for not listening to mommy?"

 "Yeahhh, I go timeout in my room."

"Yes, well I was thinking to help you practice being a big girl and listening to mommy, when you are a good listener, I will give you a treat!"

"yay! I love teeeats!"

"So what do you want for your treat?"

"A banana."

"ummmm ok."

A few days have passed so that I could effectively discuss this new technique.

Is it working? It definitely works. Sort of. Ok not really that well.

It is nice to see something work a little bit. She looses interest in the treat. The banana lasted for the rest of that day strangely and then I bought some good old fashion candy. She really loves gum. But since it is completely ridiculous to give a 2 year old gum multiple times a day, I have decided only to use gum as a last resort.

I keep the treats on the top of the refrigerator and she has pulled up a chair to reach them numerous times with no success. When she wants one she just walks around trying to do really obvious good things and smiling at me until I notice.

Basically this is a cry for help. Anyone have any amazing discipline advice for 2 year olds?

Oct 5, 2010

Save the Drama for your Momma

Once about 8 or so years ago, I owned some undergarments with "save the drama" on the front and "for your momma" on the back.  For some ridiculous reason, I decided to wear these swing dancing...under a thin dress. Thankfully and humiliatingly my now father in law caught me as I exited his home arm in arm with his son in my readable underclothes. I believe he simply said...."for your momma," to me. And I turned around wide eyed to him laughing and almost fainted. Then we all had a good laugh about "saving the drama for your momma" and I went home and worked out my wardrobe malfunction.  It's a good inside joke between us, and now, thanks to my big mouth, anyone who reads this post.
happy youngsters

In light of my recent post about us mommas trying to be happy for the youngsters, so they do not follow in unfortunate grumpy footsteps, today was one of "those" days. "Those" being tired, crabby, sickish, whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiney, clingy, crying, naughty, children days. And by children, I mean my dearest Davy. Gianna was just being a baby. Davy was being a baby too, but at two years old it's loosing its cuteness by the second.
and there you have it. look at poor Gianna's fear.

I think her little body is fighting something evil and she wanted to be held all day. Held. Like cradled. But she also wanted to flail her little limbs all day while I was holding her. Aaaaaand she fell down the stairs (so sad-her little face is banged up), shut her finger in a wooden box, tried to climb up her dresser drawers and a book shelf, kicked Gianna, and cried on and off all day. She was crazy tired but would not sleep. The last two nights she has been up on and off all night too. Hence the blogging at almost 2AM......brb there she is again screaming "mommy". Second time this night. Poor baby.

Anyway, the point here is that there is something about whining to a mom. She'll always love you, there is probably no one else who loves you more. Davy for instance, acts all tough sometimes even around her dad, but she loves to whine to this momma. Oh well, I guess I can be a sucker. She is growing so fast.

Daddy and Davy's first Drama

Heck, come to think of it. I'm the biggest whiner of all. Most of my day today I was trying and trying to get a hold of my mother on the phone so that I could whine to her about my daughter whining at me. Pathetic irony. Love you mom! And remember ... SAVE the DRAMA for your MOMMA. 

Oct 2, 2010

If Momma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

When I was little my mom had this little framed saying in her bathroom:

As I child, I naturally took this to mean that if anyone in the house was crabby or having a bad day it could probably be traced back to my mom.  Naively I thought most bad moods were her fault.

Fast forward 20 years, and here I am with little bambinas of my own: now I'm the Momma. While I would like to think my moments of sing-a-longs and infinite patience paint the reality here, unfortunately that's not the case.
Davy and Maggie are happy mommas

Sometimes I am crabby. And sometimes I do have good excuses. Here are a few I used to keep on hand: no sleep due to babies, no sleep due to sucky colon, a crazy two year old, hours and hours and days and days of work with no pay, no play and no break, wacked out hormones, sucky colon again and other lame things like that.

But then I remembered something a friend once told me: it's your choice if you are going to have a bad day or a good day. Most days have good times and bad. It's all in how you look at it and on what you choose to dwell.

So, lately I have been a little short with short people in my life, namely, Davy. She is adorable and mischievous and has almost no concept of listening to her mother. Recently, I've been running out of songs, timeouts, bribes, and patience. So a day ago she bit me hard and would not let go of my leg with her teeth. It hurt. I like to think she thought she just had my jeans...but anyway I had to push her off me mid-chomp. Literally, it was a reaction. And she was a complete wreck because she said I pushed her. To be fair, I did push her off me. I have black and blue teeth marks on my leg to help me remember the occasion. She was really upset that I pushed her. She kept saying over and over. You pushed me, you pushed me. It was so sad. And if I could go back, I would probably push her off me again because biting really hurts. Anyway she was cranky before she bit me. Maybe if someone else hadn't been so crabby beforehand this biting situation would not have happened in the first place. This little episode was a final straw and I decided to turn over a new leaf for one day.

my little running wanderer

The Experiment:
For one day I would spoil her with love and with attention and try to not be cranky at all. I did this for one day. Her behavior was about the same. The difference was that I felt fantastic. She just wasn't getting to me as much because I had resolved to be all sugary no matter what. Then day 2 hit and I decided to just roll with it. She definitely seemed much much happier. I'm trying to keep the streak until she hits the thrilling threes. ;)

Funny how sometimes it seems like we are a victim of circumstances when in reality we have much more control over our moods and the moods of those around us than we think.

So I decided that the saying is kind of true. Moms do set the mood in their home more than they realize... I like to think that if people are happy it's because of the Momma and if they are crabby it's their own fault. just joking with ya.

You're the Sesame of my Streets

Word TV lovers. I have a secret to reveal. We have no TV. I know. It is alarming isn't it? But, we are not completely amish...we do watch youtube videos and online TV...

This is our new family favorite...

Will.I.Am What I Am

You know you like it.

Oct 1, 2010

The Easiest Most Delicious Bread

One day I was home with no bread. It was sad. I was hungry for carbs and my babies were crying and I was stuck in the house. So I wondered...could I possibly make bread. Hmmm. I've made banana bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, but no bread. Making bread seemed a little scary to me. I mean what the heck is yeast anyway? I did have some in the pantry and I found this recipe at allrecipes.com.

What you need:

You probably have all those ingredients in your cupboard except the yeast. If you like bread and you can stir, this is the bread for you. Let me tell you. It is worth it. This was the first time I truly felt domestic. I put on a apron, pretended I lived in the 1950s and also pretended I was a good housewife. If you are at all lacking in kitchen skills as I was/ am, this will give you such satisfaction. Plus homemade bread with butter or fake nondairy butter is heavenly....

Energy Exerted:  20 Min
Cook Time: 40 Min 
Time until you can eat: 2 Hrs 30 Min (patience is a virtue my friend)

How much food will this make? 2 9x5 loaves

What you need and how much of it

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour

What to do

  1. Dissolve the sugar in hot water, and then stir in yeast. Wait a few minutes for yeast, water and sugar to proof (fancy word for "get foamy")
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough (move the sticky mixture around until it gets a bit smoother) on a floured surface. You don't have to be perfect. It only takes a few minutes.  Here is a little video to improve your skills. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. There aren't enough opportunities in a day for good punching exercises. Do that kneading thing again for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Homemade Easy Crab Rangoon (non dairy version too!)

I should start out saying that I cannot eat dairy. I have not eaten cream cheese in years so eating these delectables has been a.mazing.

Years ago, before dairy became my arch nemesis, I'd eaten them at Asian restaurants and incorrectly assumed that they originated in Asia. There are not any Asian meals that I know of with dairy so I wasn't shocked to find out these are considered American Chinese cuisine. I was excited to find out that they possibly originated in San Francisco (how I miss you my city by the bay.).... Apparently, Crab Rangoon has been on the menu of the "Polynesian-style" restaurant Trader Vic's in San Francisco since at least 1957, supposedly from a Burmese recipe,[2] and was probably invented there." Thanks for being my friend wikipedia.

So here is the easy recipe. Brace yourself.

crunchy chewy creamy fried goodness


1) wonton wrappers. If you have a Kroger near you...I know they carry them in the health food refrigerated section and you get 48 wrappers for a whopping $1.99.

2) Cream cheese or if you are not allowed to eat dairy or think that it does grave injustice to dairy cows, there are alternatives. (Since my father works for a dairy company and I grew up eating larger amounts of butter than Paula Deen, the latter is not my personal reason.) I use Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (it's not, by the way.)

3) crab- real crab, fakey flaky imitation crab, crab in a can. It doesn't really matter. Unless you are allergic to shellfish, then I would go with the no crab option. I used real crab that I found near the fresh seafood section at my neighborhood Kroger. It came in a little container and I didn't have to use any tools to retrieve this deliciousness.

4) seasonings- you could use Old Bay Seasoning, garlic salt and or powder, onion powder or real onion or leeks if you are super cool, I used some Tony Sachere's creole seasoning for a little kick. (Taste it as you go- nothing is raw. And you probably won't mess up if you add in small quantities.

5) Oil for frying- I used Coconut oil...you could use vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil.

Take the cream cheese and crab and seasonings and mix them to your special liking.
place a teaspoon and a half sized amount on the middle of the wonton wrapper. Repeat and make as many as your arteries can handle. fold the wrapper in half, then in half again. press edges to seal. heat oil. test before frying by tossing in a tiny piece... then fry away for about 30 to a minute..until they are crispy. oh and use about 3 tbsp or so of oil...enough to coat the bottom. use tongs or a fork to flip the little suckers. And beware my friends, oil does splatter. Wear a cute apron or arm yourself with rag shields... When they are done....you could make a little dip of soy sauce, garlic, honey, rice vinegar, and lime juice. Or just honey and soy sauce or whatever you like. Beware! They. are. addicting.

Most Popular Posts